Walking, Hiking & Trail Running

Walking Books | 5 of the Best

Looking for some adventure inspiration? Here's some great books about big walks in the outdoors

From both a physical and mental wellbeing point of view, there’s nothing quite like the benefits of a long walk somewhere. Yes, properly long walks can often be an emotional rollercoaster at times but the good they can do us undoubtedly outweighs the bad. To help inspire your next big hiking adventure, we’ve compiled some reading material for you to look at. These works are, as far as we’re concerned, easily some of the best walking books around.

There’s a real mixture of well-known classics and lesser known gems here; something, in other words, for everyone. If the weather forecast is looking especially grim this weekend, why not get comfy on the sofa with one of these books instead? Who knows? They might just light the fuse on your plans for another epic walk in the outdoors. Read the words. Get inspired.

‘Americana’ by Luke Healy

One of our favourite books about walking in recent times has been ‘Americana (And the Act of Getting Over It)’ by Luke Healy. More of an autobiographical comic than a regular book, ‘Americana’ is the warts and all tale of Luke’s journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The illustrations in it are excellent and there’s an authentic sense, sketched across every page, of the very real highs and lows of undertaking such a gruelling and, at times, painful walk. The Pacific Crest Trail runs for 2660 miles between California’s border with Mexico and Washington’s border with Canada. If you’re looking for some inspiration to head out and walk it, look no further.


‘A Walk In The Woods’ by Bill Bryson

‘A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail’ by the bestselling travel writer Bill Bryson is a classic of the walking book genre. Published in 1998, it documents Bill and his friend “Stephen Katz” (not his real name) attempt to walk the legendary Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail stretches for an astonishing 2,200 miles across several states, between Georgia and Maine, in the Eastern United States. It’s arguably the most famous long-distance walking challenge on the planet. Not much of a long-distance walker himself, the real joy of Bill’s book comes from the fish out of water humour that spills out from every page.

That’s not to say it’s all a big joke however. The book is interspersed with serious discussions around the trail’s history, shining a light on some of its enviromental and sociological concerns.

Starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson, the film version of ‘A Walk In The Woods’ was released in 2015 and took $36 million at the box office.


‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn

‘The Salt Path’ is about Raynor Winn and her husband’s decision to walk the 630-mile long South West Coast Path (England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath). One of the things that makes the book so remarkable, and compelling, is the context within which it was written.

Before settting off on the journey together, Raynor’s husband Moth had been diagonsed with a rare terminal illness called corticobasal degeneration. Following a bad investment, the couple also found themselves homeless. With all of this noise going on in the background, ‘The Salt Path’, perhaps more than most walking books, is able to underline humanity’s ability to endure and keep on putting one foot in front of the other even when it feels like all hope is lost.

This critically acclaimed, honest, and life-affirming true story is a tale of people coming to terms with grief. It highlights the healing power of the natural world, and takes the reader on a journey as a couple brought low try to rebuild their lives. Raynor has written a follow up called ‘The Wild Silence’.


‘Clear Waters Rising’ by Nicholas Crane

‘Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe’ is the adventure-inspiring story of one man, and his extraordinary cross-continental journey on foot. Nicholas Crane spent 17 months walking all the way from Cape Finisterre to Istanbul. With nothing but his umbrella for company, he crossed the Pyrenees, the Cévennes, the Alps before making his way through the Carpathians and Balkans.

Published in 1997, Crane’s book deep dives on the contrasting ways of life in Western and Eastern Europe. It also digs into the ways that the modern world, pre-millenium, was already chipping away at traditional mountain life. It’s an adventure-filled book, it’s a look at geography and nature, but it’s also a celebration of the various different people that call this sprawling continent home – whether they live in its beating heart or out on its periphery.


‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed

A book brought well and truly into the mainstream by the 2014 film starring Reese Witherspoon, Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild: A Journey From Lost To Found’ is something of a modern classic in walking book circles. Pulblished in 2012, it’s the story of Cheryl piecing her life together after the death of her mother from cancer, the disbanding of her family, and the crumbling of her marriage.

With nothing to lose, Cheryl sets out on an eleven-hundred mile walk along the Pacific Crest Trail. Not someone with any experience of long-distance walking prior to her adventure, Cheryl made the choice to put on some boots and follow a line on a map. Her story is one of rebuilding a life, and piecing things back together, through the restorative powers of walking.


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